[South monolithic column in the Kailas enclosure, Hindu Cave XVI (Kailasanatha), Ellora.]
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the south monolithic column in the Kailasanatha temple at Ellora in Maharashtra, taken by Henry Cousens in the 1870s. The Kailasanatha temple is the most noted of all the splendours of Ellora. It is entirely sculpted out of a great mass of basalt. Patronized by different rulers of the Rashtrakuta dynasty from the mid-8th century, it symbolizes Mount Kailasa, abode of Shiva. A tall screen with an entrance gateway obscures the exterior of the temple. Sculptures of river goddesses flank the entrance to the three sections of the temple (a Nandi shrine, a mandapa, and the main sanctuary). The principal shrine is topped by a shikara, or pyramidal tower. Sculptural friezes in the temple depict tales from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the life of Shiva. The column in this view is one of two monolithic columns, 17 m high and decorated with relief carvings, situated on either side of the main temple.